• As a couple, casually but well dressed, the man in his forties and the woman in her thirties, walked by, the woman said, “Well, at least my breasts are firmer.”
I would be interested to know in what world that’s a plausible sentence.
• “Hillel International expects all campus organizations that use the Hillel name to adhere to these guidelines,” the president of Hillel International wrote to the student board of the group’s chapter at Swarthmore College. “No organization that uses the Hillel name may choose to do otherwise.”
The group’s “Israel Guidelines” prohibit working with those who “deny the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish and democratic state with secure and recognized borders” or in other ways seek to harm the nation. The college’s chapter had declared that since the guidelines “privilege only one perspective on Zionism, and make others unwelcome,” they will join anyone they want to, “regardless of Hillel International’s Israel guidelines.”
“Let me be very clear—‘anti-Zionists’ will not be permitted to speak using the Hillel name or under the Hillel roof, under any circumstances,” explained the president, Eric Fingerhut. Would that Catholic institutions were so jealous of their identity.
• History, wrote Whittaker Chambers in 1954, shows that “the rock-core of the Conservative Position, or any fragment of it, can be held realistically only if conservatism will accommodate itself to the needs and hopes of the masses.” This he called “the Beaconsfield position” after the first earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli, noted for his “one nation” conservatism.
Not that other conservatives liked the idea. “Inevitably, it goads one’s brothers to raise their knives against the man who holds it. Sadder yet, that man can never blame them, for he shares their feelings even when directed against himself, since he, no less than they, is also a Tory. Only, he is a Tory who means to live. And to live is not to hold the lost redoubt. To live is to maneuver.”
• It apparently looks like the usual Bible, but the Holy Bible as produced by Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin includes pictures, taken from the files of the Archive of Modern Conflict in London and printed on top of the words, designed to show how out-of-step it is. As the Village Voice’s reviewer explained, “Throughout, photos of levitating magicians and circus performers challenge the credulity necessary to accept the Bible as literal truth.” In one picture, a man wearing a Hitler mask performs an alternative sexual act, which “perhaps satirizes all the begetting, incest, and rape to be found within these hallowed verses.”
The Voice’s reviewer seems to think this Bible strikes some kind of blow against religion—“This is disconcerting stuff, guaranteed to rile fundamentalists everywhere”—but the observant Jew and Christian will be thinking, yes, the Bible tells about a lot of bad people doing bad things, because it’s about human life, and people often act badly. In other cases such a book would be praised for realism, or even for magical realism.
The Bible’s a safe target for such treatment, as even the reviewer notes at the end: “If you really want to plumb the limits of secular aesthetics? Try doing this to the Koran.”